Thatcham Town Council to discuss Council Tax increase amid £47k financial deficit
Thatcham residents could see an increase in council tax as the pandemic worsens the town’s financial pressures.
Thatcham Town Council has been reviewing its budget as it prepares for the end of the fiscal year.
A deficit, projected at £47,325, has emerged amid unexpected costs in the pandemic as well as an increase in vandalism.
During the Covid pandemic, halls were seeing less use as restrictions saw events cancelled, ultimately impacting the income that the town council was generating.
The increased use of play parks during this time, which led to additional wear and tear of equipment beyond normal levels, saw further unexpected costs.
The council is now tightening its belt and becoming more stringent with where money goes for the remainder of the financial year.
Following the review of a draft budget for the financial year 2022 -2023, the Finance and General Purposes Working Party has suggested a small increase in council tax.
The working party met on January 24 and discussed a 4.8 per cent increase in the precept, taking it to a total of £810,015.
The tax base figure has increased for the next fiscal year and if the increase is passed by the council, the average Band D property will see an increase in its council tax of £4.02 per annum.
This will allow the council to meet the expenditure set out in the estimates.
The emergence of the Omicron variant has presented further uncertainty.
Financial officer Steve Tickle said that there has been an “added pressure” on the council with “utility prices increasing and incomes falling”.
The council is now looking at reshuffling money to reduce the deficit, as well as implementing controls to slow things down for the rest of the year.
The increase will be discussed in a full town council meeting on January 31.